FACT, FEAR OR FICTION….. Some things have refused to go away…. Iraq, immigration, high gas prices, global warming, death and destruction and NIMBY’s. Bi-Partisan politics run rampant like the social divides of immature teens. And the battle over gas drilling in NY has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Unfortunately, the intersection between the politics and the science of hydrofracking is filled with half-truths, misinformation, and politicized, agenda-driven science.
THE SCIENCE: We know that 99.5 percent of fracking fluid is water and sand. The other 0.5% are chemicals we use every day, from households cleaners, table salt, lemon juice, detergents, hand soaps, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, antiperspirants and processed foods. Things that we don’t think twice about dumping down our drains to filter into the aquifers .Langhorne “Taury” Smith, PhD, New York’s chief geologist, based on three years of research, testified recently that the threat of ground water contamination from hydrofracking was overblown. The debate should be about the science, says Syracuse University Hydrology professor Don Seigel. He contends, as do two retired SU professors, Bryce Hand and Joe Robinson , who have defended high-volume hydraulic fracturing as a safe method to capture a huge supply of underground natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.
THE FEAR FACTOR: Opponents of hydrofracking have “dispensed with science and rely on fear” to turn the public against drilling, Siegel said. Among the concerns critics most frequently raise are the potential risk to groundwater supplies, the scarring of the natural landscape and degradation of roadways, but some scientists say many of those concerns have been sensationalized. Concerns range from noise pollution, drastic property devaluation, mortgage refusals and greatly increased truck traffic on rural roads to well water contamination. Fears have been fueled by the documentary film “Gasland,” (proven to be propaganda) which featured footage of homeowners near fracking sites who were able to set fire to the water coming out of their kitchen taps.
THE LYNCH PARTY: The “Anti-Frackers” and environmental organizations subsequently attacked Taury from every angle possible and the NY State Ed Dept. has effectively gagged him, not even allowing him to take any phone calls. Character assassination and propaganda from “anti-fracker” citizens is running rampant. I ask you, does someone who manages a musician or is employed as a secretary know more about geology than someone that holds a doctorate? And what happened to Freedom of speech? Or are only those spreading doom and gloom hysteria and phony fears permitted to make statements to the press? The voices of the scientists are being drowned out or stifled.
THE “OOPS”: We have all chuckled over the NY Times “Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers” article that was effectively proven false and the Times, while still busy wiping the egg off its collective face has forgotten to print the retraction or apology.
THE NIMBY: Scientists are perplexed that people continue to fight wind farms, nuclear power plants, and other forms of alternative energy, while at the same time resisting natural gas drilling. But Siegel said environmental groups have been doing everything in their power to block what he believes is the best solution to avoid a far worse environmental problem. For Siegel, who considers himself an environmentalist, climate change is looming large. He said switching to natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels, could help slow its approach by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent. It would satiate New York’s energy needs until alternative energy sources become more viable.
THE ECONOMICS: I would suggest that if upstate New York is not to continue its economic slide into an abyss from which it cannot recover, that every effort be made by the new governor and state Legislature to allow “horizontal drilling” to immediately go forward with the DEC working closely with the drilling companies to insure environmental safety. This would create an economic boon for upstate New York and particularly the Southern Tier, which is in desperate need of jobs. Between July 2009 and June 2010, Pennsylvania’s 632 Marcellus wells released 180 billion cubic feet of gas, doubling state production. Compare that to the State of New York where the upstate region has lost 90,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001. A July study by the American Petroleum Institute estimates production in the Marcellus could provide $15 billion in economic output and $2 billion in state tax revenue over nine years for New York. A recent Penn State study estimates that Marcellus is the second largest natural gas field in the world, 65 million acres of Marcellus Shale. The study notes that Pennsylvania had $4.5 billion in Marcellus-related investment in 2009, generating nearly $400 million in state and local tax revenues and 44,000 jobs. Between July 2009 and June 2010, Pennsylvania’s 632 Marcellus wells released 180 billion cubic feet of gas, doubling state production. In contrast, New York has imposed a defacto drilling moratorium because of dubious environmental fears.
THE HIDDEN: Meanwhile, NY State’s Pension Fund has invested $1 Billion in shale gas drilling!
“And the Oscar for propaganda goes to….”
Gasland is so full of errors and falsehoods regarding the dangers of natural gas drilling that Colorado actually investigated and then issued a report responding to the film’s accusations that ground water has been contaminated by due to natural gas drilling. According to the state’s investigation, none of the claims of contaminated water due to natural gas drilling are accurate.
Kellie M. Place “The Land Expert”
“Upstate New York’s Real Estate Development Expert”
Century 21 Chesser Realty